Many of us have just watched the Burns and Novick documentary about VietNam, where we saw senior government officials and military general officers lying through their teeth to the American public, all the while sounding sincere.
My skepticism carries over. I don’t believe anything that comes out of the Trump White House. After General Kelly’s regrettable performance defending Trump in the matter of the condolence call to Sergeant LaDavid Johnson’s widow, my skepticism is complete. He’s the last White House staffer to have his integrity crumble. Who do we look to now, of the supposed “adults in the room”? Mattis? He works over a the Pentagon, some distance from the Trumpian vortex.
I happened to turn on CNN while eating my lunch yesterday, and caught the press conference with General Joseph Dunford about the deaths in Niger. General Dunford is articulate, seemed careful in what he said was fact and what remains to be discovered, and his manner was respectful to the press. In turn, the press was respectful to him.
General Dunford is good on his feet. He was asked whether the Niger incident is Trump’s Benghazi — which would have been an opening for Trump or Kelly to go down a rabbit hole. Dunford didn’t. He brought the attention of the group back to the four Americans lost, and said that’s where the focus needs to be.
I want to believe that this was an accurate and honest briefing. I think I do, even though that little bit of nagging doubt remains.